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I want you all to go back to that time in your lives, when you were a teenager and something like a boy or girl turning you down was a life-altering situation for you – your whole life was ruined, you thought, and you felt powerless and perhaps even worthless. Maybe because of the hormones pumping from your adolescent glands. Maybe from the peer pressure to be “just like everyone else”. For two or three days or weeks you felt as if your life was over. Add to that what sounds like a monster for a parent to add to the pressure.
If you could just get through that two or three days or weeks the bad feelings would dull and recede – but you don’t know that because you haven’t that much experience of life, and the whole glandular thing is causing you to obsess about who was to blame for the pain in your life. You desperately want control over your own life but have no concept of what that entails – it sometimes feels like you’ll just explode.
And there are the guns, right there – the ultimate expression of anger and hopelessness. For that two or three days or weeks there are the guns, and the tradition, taught even in school, that people solve their problems with guns. The US is a whole culture soaked in guns used as “tools” that built America, as historical touchstones, as the basis for a shared identity, and as entertainment and fantasy fetish.
How is all of this so mysterious? How is it we can even argue about it? “It’s Ritalin!” or “There are too many doors!” or “It’s those poor kids from the other side of town!”. But really it’s being a fragile human being in a very callous world – and there are the guns, so easy to get, so easy to use: instant power over everyone.
How is that so mysterious?